Reflections on Thohoyandou, South Africa

Good evening from Washington, D.C.! I’m writing from my home after having just returned from Thohoyandou, South Africa, the Community Health in Limpopo (CHIL) research site. ​The past few weeks were so crazy and filled with hours of field work, it’s strange to be home and not working. 
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Young boys play at a home in the village of one of our UNIVEN student partners.
I thought I’d talk a little bit about what the past few weeks were like since they were our first full weeks of field work. We began each day running a few errands, whether it was printing more consent forms or buying more snacks to give research participants. Then, we would head to the University of Venda where we canvassed door-to-door, advertising our research project and hoping to intrigue students. Amazingly, nearly everyone we spoke with wanted to participate. The students there were so curious, open, and willing to take part in our study, which made the world of a difference. They would participate, they would text their friends to participate, and we ended up reaching our participant number goal (planned for 10 weeks) in less than 10 days. It was so fulfilling and powerful; it pushed us to continue our efforts and really aim high.
Students, especially females, were so insightful. Our project focused tremendously on gender-based violence and intimate partner violence, and it was amazing to hear about the experiences of young college women. Their stories and impressions of the culture/country they grew up in affected me in ways I never imagined, and the impacts of this research will stay with me forever. The time we spent in Limpopo interviewing countless students has inspired myself and others on our team to hopefully come back and affect change where it’s needed. I am so humbled by my time in Thohoyandou, and thank everyone who helped make this research possible. Hope to be back soon!
-Neeka Nazari
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Casey Ackerman (fellow CGH Scholar) and I at Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga.

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